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Tuesday, May 13, 2008 :::

Disappointment, Thy Name Be Stretch Monster

I saw this retro-image online the other day and it brought back a deluge of intense personal memories, circa December 1978:

I was three years old, and my very first recognizable feeling of INTENSE WANT came in the form of the Stretch Monster. I wanted it so bad that it was all I requested for Christmas. I asked my mom, I asked my Dad, I asked my grandparents, I asked the too-skinny Santa at the mall, and I probably asked random strangers in the toy department.

(On a side note, I remember when I was younger I used to believe that if I looked sad and pathetic enough in the toy aisle - like some poor little Match Boy beggar - that some stranger might take pity on me and buy me something just to see my frown turn upsidedown. This, of course, never actually happened, which is probably a good thing because I imagine that the only random strangers actually buying toys for disadvantaged-looking boys in toy stores are probably pedophiles - but maybe I'm just too cynical. Regardless, I spent many-an-afternoon perfecting my audible "sad sigh" and standing with exaggeratedly forlorn facial expressions in front of the latest Transformer, never to have that dream fulfilled.)

Fortunately for me, Santa got me what I asked for that year:

[I actually remember being annoyed that I had to stop playing with my Stretch Monster long enough to pose for this stupid picture.]

Unfortunately for me, it wasn't nearly as stretchy as my three-year-old mind was imagining it would be. I fantasized I would be able to stretch it across entire rooms and around parking lots and all the way to the corner store. So on that very same day, when I finally exerted as much strength as my three-year-old muscles could muster and stretched it nearly a foot above and beyond its normal arm-span, I was obviously shocked to see that it started to pop at the seams, oozing a clear syrupy jelly that I probably shouldn't have tasted. But I was only three and toxic toys were generally not a much-debated issue at my house in the 1970's.

My subsequent sickness was surely due more to the disappointment of the whole situation rather than the actual ingested innards of a cheaply made stretch toy. My dad tried to mend the doll with some electrical tape, which only stopped the hemorrhaging temporarily. But I learned an important lesson that year about bracing myself for disappointment, especially when you want something really bad. It's an inverse proportion kind of thing: the more you want something, the more it will disappoint you when you finally get it. Therefore, always keep your expectations exceedingly low.

::: posted by dan at 12:18 PM :: [ link ] :: (8) comments Social Bookmark Button

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8 previous comments:

Um...what do you suppose Stretch Monster is doing to Sexy Tan Man?

By Anonymous smells like kristin, at 12:09 AM  

I can say "ditto" to almost everything you said. I wanted one of those things so bad. I remember mine being an Incredible Hulk. I finally got it from a garage sale we passed after church one morning. I bit into mine after about 3.2 seconds to see what was inside.

dirty word verification: focjbzk

By Blogger Kristi, at 1:28 AM  

I had Stretch Monster too. I left mine outside overnight in winter & then accidentally droped it on the sidewalk. It smashed into several pieces. I miss that toy...

By Blogger CampBlood, at 7:25 AM  

I had stretch armstrong. awesome.

when he split at the armpit, i remember the goo being red. or maybe green. either way, i popped it like a zit and then had to throw him away.

i loved him.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:50 AM  

That stretch Monster is totally gay

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:22 AM  

That sexy tan guy is Stretch Armstrong, he was my favorite toy as a child. I also left him outside one cold winter day and my Dad ran over him with the car. He crunched into a million pieces. :(

By Blogger Up your Alli, at 10:11 AM  

I thought that if i put my stretch man on the baseboard heater for an hour that he could stretch further if he was melty like butter.

This is why we can't have nice things.

By Blogger Tracy, at 12:50 PM  

i had one.
a monster that is.
My bro and i got one each for xmas 78-79 ..not sure exactly.. see my profile pic tho.
I recently acquired one, I'm pretty chuffed. was probly my fave toy as a kid.

By Blogger Bukwad, at 11:23 PM  

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